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The Invisible Compass: Why Some Employees Don’t Know Their Organisation’s Core Values.

The essence of an organisation lies in its core values, which intricately weave together its culture, identity, and purpose. These…

The Invisible Compass: Why Some Employees Don’t Know Their Organisation’s Core Values

31st August 2023

The essence of an organisation lies in its core values, which intricately weave together its culture, identity, and purpose. These principles serve as a guiding light, directing individuals through workplace challenges and choices.

Yet, it is all too common to witness a peculiar phenomenon in the corporate world: employees who remain oblivious to the fundamental beliefs of their own company. This disconnect between a company’s essence and its workforce has profound implications for employee engagement.

What Do The Statistics Say?

According to a Cezanne HR study on employee statistics in the UK and Ireland in 2023, approximately 60% of employees are unaware of or do not fit with the principles of their own firm. One of the most unexpected findings was that 28% of employees did not believe their personal views connected with their business’s values, and 30% did not even know what their corporate values were.

A large aspect of healthy employer-employee interactions is whether individuals feel comfortable being themselves at work. However, if employees believe they are unable to express themselves because of their distinct viewpoints, it is unlikely that they will ever be able to develop meaningful involvement with their business.

According to the survey, more than 46% of employees do not feel safe communicating their cultural and social beliefs at work. This shows that, while enormous gains have been made in implementing comprehensive diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives in workplaces, there nevertheless remains a long way to go.

Only 48% of employees believed that their company respected them and their roles when questioned. Over 35% disapproved, while 17% did not agree or disagree. This is just another alarming figure for HR departments. Workers who do not feel appreciated would most likely disconnect from their jobs, pitch in less frequently, work less rapidly and take more unscheduled absences – all of which are detrimental to cultivating healthy relationships between employers and employees.

Root Causes of the Disconnect

Organisations frequently fail to express their values effectively. These principles can disappear into the background noise of work if they are offered during onboarding but never reinforced in day-to-day encounters. There might be a disconnect between what an organisation claims to be its basic principles and the conduct it actually rewards or tolerates. Employees may question the genuineness of the ideals as a result of this contradiction.

When companies experience rapid growth, they often struggle with maintaining a consistent culture throughout their various levels and locations. This can make it challenging for new employees to fully grasp the organisation’s core principles. When leaders fail to exemplify these values, employees are less likely to internalise and embrace them.

 In order to foster a culture of alignment, it is crucial for values to be demonstrated from the highest levels of leadership. If employees do not receive proper guidance on how these core values relate to their roles, they may perceive them as distant ideals rather than actionable guidelines for their work.

The Impact on Employees and Organisations

When employees are unaware of the underlying values of their organisation, it can have a profound impact on the workplace. Values provide work with meaning and purpose, and without them, employees may feel disconnected and uninterested in their jobs.

In decision-making processes, core values act as a moral compass. Employees who do not grasp these values may struggle to make decisions that align with the organisation’s goals.

A shared understanding of key principles fosters unity among employees. Without this understanding, a company runs the risk of fragmenting into separate subcultures.

If employees don’t comprehend the fundamental concepts that drive the organisation, their performance may suffer due to a lack of direction and motivation. Firms that align their values are more likely to attract and retain like-minded employees. If values are not clearly defined, it becomes challenging for an organisation to attract talent that fits its culture.

Reconnecting Employees to Core Values

It takes conscious effort to reconnect employees with their company’s basic principles. Businesses might start by incorporating fundamental values into team meetings, initiatives, and recognition initiatives. They can emphasise the importance of these values in decision-making and success.

Leaders must demonstrate the fundamental principles via their actions and decisions, setting the tone for the entire organisation. Share tales on how workers have used their principles to overcome obstacles and accomplish their goals.

Companies must remind staff of the key principles on a regular basis through internal communication channels and training sessions. Encourage workers to share feedback on how the fundamental principles are manifesting in their positions and teams.


An organisation’s core values are not meant to be lofty ideals relegated to the background; they should be the heartbeat of the workplace, guiding every action and decision. When employees are unaware of these values, a significant opportunity for unity, engagement, and purpose is lost.

Companies that take deliberate steps to reconnect employees with their core values will find themselves on a path to not only enhanced performance but also a thriving, values-driven culture that empowers both individuals and the organisation as a whole.

Categories: Advice, Articles

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